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Bristol launches multi-million pound renewable energy project

30 January 2012

Bristol has been handed a £2.5 million grant from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to meet most of the costs of developing an energy services company and investment programme.

The city is the first outside of London to tap into European funding to support the roll-out of an ambitious low-carbon project.

Plans to establish a citywide energy services company to spearhead renewable energy and energy efficiency projects worth up to £140 million and helping to create up 1,000 jobs were launched earlier this week.

Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President said “The launch of the European Local Energy Assistance programme in Bristol will both improve energy efficiency and ensure supply of low carbon and renewable energy in the city.

“The broad range of projects planned in Bristol will inspire similar cities in the UK and across Europe to look at ways to accelerate deployment of feasible energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes.”

Bristol City Council Leader Barbara Janke said: “This is a bold but necessary move for the city and we will be one of the first local authorities in the country to drive forward with such ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy plans.

“In practical terms this will lead to cheaper bills for thousands of residents through investment in energy saving measures. This will also mean that as a city we will be generating our own energy, primarily through a major investment in solar energy generation.

“It will help generate up to 1,000 new jobs in the construction and environmental technologies sectors – many I hope going to local firms and employees. The investment programme should also kick-start and attract much bigger investment in the city potentially up to £2 billion.”

The plans were launched earlier this week at Bristol’s Redland Green School – the first secondary school in the city to install solar photovoltaic modules on its roof. The school is taking part in the City Council’s Solar Schools programme, which is installing solar energy systems at no costs to schools.

As part of this programme, schools will also be installing energy efficiency works such as energy efficient lighting and insulation and rolling out energy awareness activities with staff and pupils in the school. It is planned that the proposals announced today will enable this programme to be massively expanded.

The Bristol energy services company will be owned by the City Council on behalf of the citizens of Bristol. It intends to secure half of its funding – around £70 million - from the European Investment Bank, the rest from private sector investment. It would be an arms-length organisation and generate income through energy savings and energy generation.

The investment programme will initially be focused on:

  • Improving the energy efficiency of over 6,000 homes and public buildings through wall insulation and other measures
  • Installing over 7,000 renewable energy generating systems on homes and public buildings such as solar panels and wood fuelled heating
  • Developing small district heating networks where several buildings are heated from a single, efficient boiler. These will be located in areas where there are several high-energy users close together such as in the city centre.

This investment programme would:

  • Invest up to £140 million into the city, creating up to 1,000 new jobs, many locally – in the environmental technologies and construction sectors
  • Reduce the carbon emissions from homes by up to 3% - helping to achieve the city’s ambitious carbon targets
  • Improve energy security and reduce fuel poverty in the city by making buildings more energy efficient
  • Support the market for renewable energy systems and further develop Bristol’s leading position in environmental technologies


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